China Declares the World Health Assembly a Big Win for Beijing

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) media celebrated this week’s World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting as a big win for China, projecting confidence the CCP has stymied the global movement to investigate the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus and retains commanding influence in the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).

State media claimed China’s nemeses – including the United States, Australia, and Taiwan – were the “largest losers” at the WHA.

The CCP’s Global Times trumpeted that the “three losers” of the U.S., Australia, and Taiwan “failed to besiege” China at the WHA with a “malicious political attempt” to investigate how China handled the coronavirus. 

The Global Times claimed the Chinese political narrative of the coronavirus is now utterly dominant at the W.H.O., while China’s critics have been “isolated or abandoned by the global community for continuing to politicize the pandemic.” 

The editorial repeated this talking point with manic frenzy and celebrated China’s loathsome achievement in blocking the return of Taiwan, the world’s best coronavirus fighters, to the W.H.O. as a supreme political power play by Beijing:

Besides furious attacks, the US government has been trying to bring the matter of Taiwan into the WHA to provoke the Chinese mainland, which, however, was doomed to fail no matter how hard some US lawmakers and officials like US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tried to support the island and challenge the universally accepted one-China principle.

Compared to previous years, Ms Keva Bain from the Bahamas, president of this year’s WHA, was more “decisive and clear” about not discussing Taiwan-related proposals, experts said. 

An insider familiar with this year’s WHA said that so far, more than 160 countries have reiterated their support to the one-China principle and more than 50 countries sent letters to WHO General-Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to oppose the Taiwan-related proposal. Chinese mainland analysts said that the separatist DPP in Taiwan thought that it has found the “big brother” – the Trump administration – and it has paid a huge amount of money to flatter the US. But the “big brother” is not as reliable as they have thought, since all efforts they paid to challenge the one-China principle in the WHA failed, as always.

The Global Times also thought Australia suffered a huge defeat at the WHA because China hijacked its push for a coronavirus investigation, gleefully repeating a racist smear of Australians that has become very popular among the Communist elite:

“This is a totally different thing from the so-called independent inquiry pushed by the Australian side,” Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a routine press conference on Tuesday on the resolution approved by the international community. Along with other countries, China has been actively taking part in the negotiations on this resolution, which clearly recognizes and supports the leadership of the WHO amid the pandemic, he noted.

Some Chinese netizens also mocked Australia’s attempts as it has been trying to become a “martyr” for defending so-called independence and transparency while its ideas were denounced by the global community. By following the steps of some US hawks who harshly attack China over coronavirus, “it seems that Australia, this giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US, will hit a deadlock with China on trade disputes in sectors like coal and beef. Hopefully, the US will compensate it!” one netizen said in a Weibo post on Tuesday.  

Another Global Times editorial portrayed the WHA as a “slap” against American “hooliganism”:

The COVID-19 death toll in the US had exceeded 90,000 by Tuesday morning (Beijing time). The Trump administration does not have even a little bit of self-reflection. Passing the buck to China and the WHO has been their only strategy. Most of the American people who died of COVID-19 were poor people who did not have a say. The US administration’s only purpose is to continue in power. To this end, they adopted dirty tricks, including misleading public opinion. They do not care how many more people will die.

But manipulating the international community is not as easy as Washington thought. Washington wants to bring Taiwan into the WHA, but this issue was not even included in the agenda. Under the US’ instigation, Australia promoted an independent inquiry of China’s handling of COVID-19. But when the assembly started, the draft resolution was about the WHO-led tracing of the origin of the virus, and did not specifically target any country. The final resolution will certainly be far from what the US expects.

It is obvious to the world that the US has one of the worst performances in the COVID-19 fight, and it has the worst attitude. The WHO so far is only an advisory organization on global public health, and every sovereign country should be responsible for its own public health security. The US blames its own failure in the COVID-19 fight on another country and on the WHO, and the world had never seen such a scene.

This is pure international hooliganism. The bad example set by the US, the only superpower in the world, has seriously threatened the global established practices in the 21st century, and has shadowed justice.

It is remarkable that the CCP expects media organizations around the world to continue accepting its transparently false data about the epidemic and pretending that America had a worse coronavirus outbreak than China, even as the Chinese threw another hundred million people under lockdown this week, over a month after they claimed the virus had been all but eradicated. It is even more remarkable that their expectation is not unrealistic, given the media’s political tendencies.

The Global Times also claimed the outcome of the WHA proved that U.S. President Donald Trump’s “latest threat to permanently pull funding for the W.H.O. and withdraw U.S. membership” have “failed”:

Trump tweeted a letter to the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday, in which he harshly criticized the organization’s “dependence” on China in its decision-making process and COVID-19 response. Trump also wrote in the letter that if the WHO “does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days,” he will make the temporary freeze of US funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider its membership of the organization.

On Monday, the WHA kicked off with leaders of WHO members delivering speeches and calling for a joint effort in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the US-led campaign to push for a political agenda, including seeking Taiwan’s entry to the WHA as an observer and starting an inquiry targeting China, cast a shadow over the WHO’s annual meeting. 

After leaders from member countries addressed the ongoing WHA meeting and agreed on joint efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese President made five proposals including providing $2 billion over two years to help with the COVID-19 response, make a COVID-19 vaccine available to the world, working with G20 members to support the most severely stricken areas and helping regions like Africa, showing that China, the world’s second largest economy, is shouldering its responsibilities in global affairs amid the unprecedented crisis. 

In contrast, the lack of US participation in the global fight further indicated the failure of the Trump administration, not only in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in his own country, but also in working with other countries due to significant flaws in its governance, analysts said. 

These squeals of editorial glee from Chinese state media are likely to strengthen President Trump’s resolve to withdraw from the W.H.O., and are so exuberant that they might even convince a few of Trump’s critics that he was correct to halt funding. Beijing certainly seems to think the W.H.O. is precisely the Communist-corrupted, unreformable organization that its critics fear it has become. 

Not all of those critics are in the Trump administration. The Australians, for example, are probably getting tired of Chinese Communists insulting them as lap-kangaroo lackeys of the United States, and they will not think well of WHA states that do not object to Beijing’s portrayal of the assembly as a stunning rebuke to Canberra.

Other nations will have to decide when they have had enough of Beijing’s political narrative that all criticism of how the CCP handled the Wuhan outbreak is merely a desperate attempt to distract from their own failures. Knowing that the CCP constantly lies about how many infections and deaths the Chinese people suffered should make it especially difficult to swallow constant taunting that everyone else’s pandemic response has been so much worse than China’s. 

It is possible that China’s loud declarations of victory at the WHA are a propaganda campaign to spin a defeat or a means of broadcasting to allied and vassal states what Beijing expects them to do when the great coronavirus investigation begins. If WHA member states have any objection to China’s spin on the assembly, and if they have any hope of persuading American taxpayers to continue providing an oversized share of W.H.O. funding, the time to speak out against the CCP is now.

White House


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